Jun 4, 2012

Game of Thrones, Season 2, Episode 10

Hey...remember when I said I was going to do reviews of the second season of HBO's Game of Thrones? Yeah, that didn't work out so much but I figured I owed it to you guys to revisit the season now that the finale has aired. So, be wary of spoilers, I'll be talking about the finale episode plus some of the book!


Well now, THAT was an episode. And I'm not just saying that because we got to see all three dragons at one time again. Although that was pretty sweet.

I've been sort of back and forth this season. I realize they need to condense a ton of material to move the plot ahead but I haven't been sold on all of the changes. For instance, I like that they've given Robb's "lady" a bigger backstory and given them both time on screen together but why couldn't that woman have still been Jeyne Westerling? But it didn't bother me that Catelyn and Jamie weren't in Riverrun when she sent him off with Brienne, it still happened.

Let's start in King's Landing, where the city is celebrating their victory over Stannis. Poor Tyrion is getting completely shafted after playing a huge part in the win. Not only has he been stripped of all his power, it's like he wasn't even there. Peter Dinklage was superb in this episode, not only in his conversation with Grand Maester Pycelle in which he had to hold back his fury but especially in his scenes with Varys and Shae. 

Meanwhile, Joffrey is busy grandstanding for the court. All eyes are on Sansa as he decides to nullify their betrothal and pledge to marry Margery Tyrell instead. It was nice to see Sansa smile once again upon hearing the news but her happiness was short-lived as Littlefinger informed her she wasn't quite free from Joffrey's grasp just yet. He tries to offer her a way home but she's still untrustworthy of everyone in King's Landing and refuses his help. And now I wonder why they introduced Ser Dontos in episode one if they weren't going to bring him back at all this season.

Stannis is not happy at all with his defeat and taking it out on Melisandre. I'm glad more of Stannis' family are being brought in next season, it should be nice to see his world fleshed out a bit more. I'm super bummed we didn't get to see Davos' fate after the big battle but I suppose he's too minor to spend any time on in the finale.

And then Robb made the worst decision of his life by not listening to his mother. Though, if/when I get married, I'm totally using those vows. Short and sweet. I have to admit, it would have been nice to see Robb actually, you know, fighting this season.

Oh, Theon! It's really hard to feel bad for you when you turned on the Starks for basically no reason. You made a big play, it just didn't work out for you. I may have LOLed when you got conked over the head by your own men. 

More importantly is what's going on with Bran and Rickon. Jojen and Meera Reed are confirmed for Season 3 but part of me was hoping they'd show up for once scene in the finale. They didn't but we got some pretty emotional stuff with the boys and a dying Maester Luwin. Rickon may not have many lines of dialogue in the show but damn if that kid didn't make me tear up.

But what happened to Winterfell? One minute Theon's men are leaving, the next, it's a burning husk. If you've read A Clash of Kings you know Roose Bolton's men are responsible but they don't mention that at all in the episode and I'm wondering why.

After escaping Harrenhal, Arya is now on the road with her Hot Pie and Gendry. It's at this point I realized they should have saved the escaped for the finale. Afterall, they took out all the fun stuff from Harrenhal and there wasn't much to her leaving anyway. We did, however, get to see Jaqen give her the special coin that will grant her passage back to him should she ever wish to go into training as a Faceless Man. For now, she's too busy trying to find her brother, her mother....and her sister.

Daenerys, Daenerys, Daenerys. You are SO much cooler than this season has made you out to be. You're still significantly cooler than most of the characters in the show though, so that's saying something. Is it safe to say Dany's story was the most changed/edited in Season 2? I feel like that's the case. They cut down her time in the red waste, which is good for the most part, but I would have liked to have seen one more episode spent there. And don't even get me started on Qarth. I hate that they didn't let the House of the Undying scene play out like it did in the book. Dany's fury and wrath are still felt, but not nearly as much as they could have been. The dragons only got to burn one man, not the entire building down! And wow, closing Xaro and her handmaiden into that empty vault to die? I was reminded of this scene from Adventures in Babysitting.



Only it would be, "Don't FUCK with the Khaleesi!" of course. 

But really, as much as what they changed in Dany's story bothered me (the whining was not necessary), I still really enjoyed her part in the finale immensely. Getting to see all three dragons at once for the first time since the Season 1 finale was so cool. I wish they had a bigger budget so they could showcase them, as well as the battles and other fantasy elements, more. 

Of course that brings us to that huge cliff we were left hanging on. Or should I say, that cliff the Night's Watch is stuck up on which a huge army of White Walkers heading their way. I admit, while watching this part I had a blanket pulled up to my nose. My heart was racing and even though I knew they were coming, they were scarier than I could have possibly imagined. My only issue is with how "zombie" some of them looked. The first one we saw was straight out of The Walking Dead. Why did it appear there was any sort of organization going on? And although it made for great dramatic tension, are we really expected to believe hundreds of White Walkers wouldn't kill Sam on site?


Finally, Jon Snow's story has been my only other point of contention this season. I feel like he has been underpowered a great deal. We know he's still unsure of himself but in my mind, he always seemed confident to others. The fact that we didn't hear Lord Commander Mormont tell Jon to do whatever Quorin Halfhand told him to, and didn't get an explicit look into the plan Quorin and Jon had, makes it appear that Jon killed him out of anger. Jon didn't get a direct order to infiltrate the Wildlings so it feels as if everything he does now was his choice. Perhaps they just want it to be more ambiguous to viewers?

Overall, the finale was a lot of fun. Unfortunately I think they were beat by last week's Blackwater episode but only because of how much action was involved and the concise world view it held for the entirety of it. With so many characters, it's hard to develop everything as fully as anyone would probably like and as a reader of the book series, I'll always want more of everything. Seriously, each episode could be two hours long and I'd still want more. At least the third novel is being split into two seasons so hopefully that will give us some breathing room. 

Now, which god can I make a sacrifice to in order to get Season 3 here faster...

4 comments:

joel said...

I will now assume the role of comic book store guy from The Simpsons...in response to your comment "are we really expected to believe hundreds of White Walkers wouldn't kill Sam on site?"..only a few of them were actually White Walkers." The rest are Wights, re-animated bodies of dead Night's Watch and Wildings. That's why so many of them looked like zombies... because they basically were. (NERD ALERT!)

James said...

Loved your synopsis of the season as a whole, but couldn't agree more with your assessment of Daenarys' story angle, especially at the end. The scene with the undying was so trippy and surreal in the book. It should've remained a closer iteration in the series in my opinion. Overall a decent finale, but not on the same level as last season. Regardless, it's the best show on television right now.

embiguous said...

Such a good season! Although I wish there was MORE Dany scenes! The ending of the finale blew me away though. Can't wait till season 3!!

www.thestylishgeek.com

Peregrine John said...

Saw this and immediately thought of you and Amy.